About

Co-Directors

Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin
Blakely Bundy
Senior Advisors
Nancy Carlsson-Paige
Diane Levin National Advisory Board
Sherry Cleary
Bill Crain
Stephanie Feeney
Doris Pronin Fromberg
Ayla Gavins
Marcy Guddemi
Denisha Jones
Constance Kamii
Lilian Katz
Edgar Klugman
Deborah Meier
Ruth Rodriguez-Fay
Maurice Sykes
Judith Van Hoorn

Founded in 2012, Defending the Early Years (DEY) seeks to rally educators to take action on policies that impact the education of young children. The principal goals of the project are:​​

  • To mobilize the early childhood community to speak out with well-reasoned arguments against inappropriate standards, assessments, and classroom practices.
  • To track the effects of new standards, especially those linked to the Common Core State Standards, on early childhood education policy and practice.
  • To promote appropriate practices in early childhood classrooms and support educators in counteracting current reforms which undermine these appropriate practices.


DEY’s Co-Directors are Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin and Blakely Bundy. Geralyn is the founder of Empowered by Play and is currently an early childhood teacher at the Mission Hill School in Boston, MA. Blakely is Director Emeritus and Senior Advisor to The Alliance for Early Childhood on the North Shore of Chicago, where she previously was its Executive Director for twenty-five years.

Senior Advisors:

  • Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Professor Emerita at Lesley University, Cambridge, MA
  • Diane Levin, Professor of Early Childhood Education at Wheelock College, Boston, MA


​Other members of the DEY National Advisory Board:

  • Sherry Cleary, Executive Director, New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, The City University of New York, NY
  • Bill Crain, Professor of Psychology, City College of New York, NY
  • Stephanie Feeney, Professor Emerita, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Portland, OR
  • Doris Pronin Fromberg, Professor of Education, Hofstra University, NY
  • Ayla Gavins, Principal, Mission Hill School, Boston, MA
  • Marcy Guddemi, National Consultant, New Haven, CT
  • Denisha Jones, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Trinity Washington University, Washington, DC
  • Constance Kamii, Professor of Early Childhood Education, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL
  • Lilian Katz, Professor Emerita & Clearinghouse on Early Education and Parenting, University of Illinois, IL
  • Edgar Klugman, Professor Emeritus Wheelock College & Co Founder of Playing for Keeps, Boston, MA
  • Deborah Meier, author and activist, NY
  • Ruth Rodriguez-Fay, Save Our Schools and United Opt Out, Boston, MA
  • Maurice Sykes, Executive Director, Early Childhood Leadership Institute, University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC
  • Judith Van Hoorn, Professor Emerita, University of the Pacific, El Cerito, CA

Defending the Early Years is a project of the Survival Education Fund, Inc., a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt educational organization.